Facing Anti-Semitic Trolling Lawsuit, Neo-Nazis Raise 57K For Defense

The publisher of the country’s leading neo-Nazi website has raised tens of thousands of dollars toward his legal defense in a lawsuit involving the anti-Semitic harassment of a Jewish woman in Montana.

“The Daily Stormer is being sued by Jewish terrorists,” reads a promotional post on the website of that name, run by Andrew Anglin. “This site will be shut down if we don’t win this.”

Anglin stands accused of spearheading an online “trolling” campaign against Tanya Gersh, a real estate broker, and her family in the Montanan city of Whitefish last year. Gersh received more than 700 offensive and threatening messages, according to a lawsuit filed against Anglin in April by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“Since December, I’ve received more than 700 threatening, hateful, harassing, anti-Semitic communications from Anglin’s followers at all hours of the day and night, and it hasn’t stopped,” Gersh said in a Guardian “as told to” article in April. “My sense of safety is forever changed.”

Now Anglin’s supporters are rallying around him and, as of the afternoon of Monday, May 1, they had raised more than $57,000.

A WeSearchr crowdfunding page set up by Anglin’s hacker associate known as Weev describes the SPLC as “perfidious perjurers” who are seeking to destroy “the ‘alt-right’s’ biggest website.”

Oddly, the crowdfunding site appears to be inaccessible after allowing its SSL certification to lapse, according to the site Gizmodo.

Anglin hopes to raise at least $150,000, and maintains that anti-Semitic trolling against Gersh is protected by the First Amendment.

The lawsuit stems from a series of posts Anglin wrote last year, urging his “troll army” to harass Gersh for what he claimed was her attempt to “extort” money from the mother of Richard Spencer, who has ties to the area.

Spencer’s family lives part time in Whitefish, where a community group had been rallying against the rise of the “alt-right” last year. Gersh had been in a dialogue with Spencer’s mother, Sherry Spencer, about possibly selling downtown property in the face of possible protests.

Anglin and Spencer described the entire episode as a Jewish plot.

“Tell them you are sickened by their Jew agenda,” Anglin wrote in a December blog post titled “Jews Targeting Richard Spencer’s Mother For Harassment And Extortion – TAKE ACTION!”

Anglin then provided photos of Gersh and her family, as well as contact information. He later ramped up his campaign, calling for an armed protest against Jews in the town. Though it never materialized — Anglin failed to submit a complete application to march — the plans received wide media coverage, and residents were on high alert.

Now facing a legal battle for the campaign, Anglin’s supporters have imagined him as a sort of martyr. On the white nationalist website Occidental Dissent, the writer Andrew Joyce wrote that the SPLC described the suit against Anglin as the “biggest legal assault on free speech this year” being carried out by the “Jewish monopoly.”

“The suit against Anglin is not an effort to clean up our political life or protect individual rights,” Joyce wrote, “but rather to protect the Jewish monopoly on some of the dirtiest and retrograde forms of socio-political intimidation any group might engage in.”

Contact Sam Kestenbaum at kestenbaum@forward.com or on Twitter, @skestenbaum

Author

Sam Kestenbaum

Sam Kestenbaum

Sam Kestenbaum is a staff writer for the Forward. Before this, he worked for The New York Times and newsrooms in Sana, Ramallah and Beijing. Contact him at kestenbaum@forward.com and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum and on Instagram at @skestenbaum.

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Facing Anti-Semitic Trolling Lawsuit, Neo-Nazis Raise 57K For Defense

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